Monday Motivation: Known…

Monday Motivation: Known…

“I’m fully known and loved by You ,You won’t let go no matter what I do, And it’s not one or the other, It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace, To be known fully known and loved by You…”

Hey y’all, quick post tonight!

I was at sushi with a friend of mine over the summer. We have been friends for over 25 years. You would think after being close friends for so long that we would know just about everything about each other right? Well, we thought so too but when we were chatting about something totally random, we quickly realized that we both had something in common that we had never shared with each other… or anybody!

That led me to really think about how well do we really know people?  I think we think we know people, but what we really know is what we see on the surface. Even if your friendship/relationship develops where trust is involved, people only know the  “you” you let them see and vice versa.

Having a relationship with God has given me another outlook on what it means to be “known”.  Psalms 139: 1-18 outlines this so beautifully. Let’s take a look at what it says:

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
    and the light around me to become night—
12     but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
    Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
    They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
    they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
    you are still with me!

 

This psalm so eloquently depicts how deep God’s knowledge of his people runs. He knew us before we even knew ourselves. He knows every single intricate detail about us ( I mean He should, after all, He did create us 🙂 )
He shows us here that there is absolutely no possible way to hide from Him because He knows our thoughts before we do.
How amazing is it to know that every single moment of your life has already been laid out and planned and prepared for by someone who knows you and what’s best for you.?

Tauren Wells has a beautiful song called, “Known” that is so fitting for my thoughts this week. The lyrics are as follows:

[Verse 1]
It’s so unusual it’s frightening
You see right through the mess inside me
And you call me out to pull me in
You tell me I can start again
And I don’t need to keep on hiding

[Chorus]
I’m fully known and loved by You
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You

[Verse 2]
It’s so like You to keep pursuing
It’s so like me to go astray
But You guard my heart with Your truth
A kind of love that’s bullet proof
And I surrender to Your kindness

[Bridge]
How real, how wide
How rich, how high is Your heart
I cannot find the reasons why
You give me so much

With God, you don’t have to hide those parts of you that you feel are unpleasant.  He loves that part of you too.  How humbling is it to know that God, who knows all your flaws and faults and misgivings still wants to know you and loves you all the same!

Is there anybody out there who wants to experience what it feels like to be fully known and loved in spite of every flaw? It’s super easy! Would you take two minutes and pray this prayer with me?

Father,

I want to know what it feels like to feel a love like no other. I want to be a receiver of your grace. I want to know you, God. Would you come alongside me now and lead me on the path you have created for me? Will you help me to surrender my will for yours and help me to become the person you have always known me to be? God, will you give me a desire to know you as you have known me and walk through the rest of my days with you? Amen.

May you be blessed on this Monday!
Til Next Time…

xoxo
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Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Hey y’all,

As many of you probably know, Kanye West released his long-awaited gospel album. Kanye, last year began a spiritual journey, which has led us to where he stands now: a self-proclaimed born again Christian and ambassador for Christ. Now, if you know the Kanye that I know… The Jesus Walks to Gold digger Kanye, the words Kanye and Christian are not synonymous. In fact, they are as far apart as can be.

So where do I stand? Where should we stand as Christians today? Here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head over the past year:

I must admit I have been watching Kanye’s transformation very closely. When he first started doing his Sunday services I was extremely skeptical. Not because I thought the transformation wasn’t possible, but because of the way it was being implemented. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought they this was just another ploy by his famous family to get ratings or another breakdown of his mental health.  The way his Sunday services were being implemented at the beginning of his journey, bordered on cultish behaviour in my personal opinion. ( in a dome, all dressed alike etc..)

Mind you, I made these assumptions long before I ever watched a full service. I saw clips of him taking secular music and mixing it with gospel music and right away my Jamaican Pentecostal upbringing had me denouncing it and him. Mind you, Mr Vegas ( a Jamaican dancehall artist) has a rendition of the gospel reggae track ” I am Blessed” that I had absolutely no problem with. (it’s been played at every single Jamaican CHRISTIAN wedding I have been at in the last 10 years lol)  and I myself used to turn secular songs into Christian songs by changing the lyrics all the time! Why fault Kanye if I wasn’t going to fault Mr Vegas as well?

So finally I watched a few of the Sunday services in Atlanta  Chicago And Detroit. And what I saw in place of Kanye the persona I knew, was simply a soul searching, seeking and trying to find its way home.

What I saw was Kanye’s heart. A man who is truly on a journey to find God and learn how to use his gifts to serve a greater purpose.

When I had this conversation with a group of peers, there were varied opinions. Many statements were made about being aware of false prophets. Which I think is a valid point. The bible does speak about this in 2 Timothy 4 where Timothy is encouraged by Paul to preach the gospel of  Jesus Christ because there is coming a day where the people will not want to hear sound doctrine but will gravitate towards preachers or teachers who tell them what they want to hear. It also says that people will denounce the faith and will run after myths,( 2 Timothy 4: 1-4) and to be perfectly honest when you look at Kanye and the following he has and has garnered through this spiritual journey, it seems like he is a perfect example of the people Paul was warning Timothy about.

But honestly, after watching his services, and leaning into my own relationship with Jesus, Kanye is no different than myself or anybody who has made a choice to follow God, to be honest. Kanye is just at an unfair advantage because of the persona he has created for himself and because he has made such a drastic declaration, it is really hard for people who have seen him one way for so long to truly believe the change is real.

But y’all this is why grace is so powerful. It overshadows everybody’s perception of you. God sees you. The true you. He sees the willing heart even if the world isn’t ready to accept it.

So, like I mentioned before, Kanye released his album and one track in particular really spoke to and convicted me, “Hands On” which features one of my all-time favourite gospel artists Fred Hammond. On this track, there is a line that really made me check myself as it should many people who call themselves a believer and follower of Christ:

“Told people God was my mission/What have you been hearing from the Christians/ they’ll be the first one to judge me/ make it seem like nobody love me”

This is exactly what many of us believers do. We judge people by their past and the persona first forgetting that grace extends to everyone… to celebrities too.  The same grace we live under is the same grace that Kanye has access to through Jesus Christ.

You may not know Kanye personally, but now is the time to pray for him! He is clearly on a journey and needs some guidance to keep him focused on the gift that is eternal life. This is a man who has had the entire world at his fingertips and is now in a place to give that all up in order to serve the one true and living God. To me… that’s commendable.

What the world sees as a plot or even as mental health issues, is really God taking back His child.  Putting him back on track to walk in the purpose that he was created for which is worship…

I’m not God and I can’t say with 100 per cent conviction that this a true declaration that Kanye has made forever. But what I can say right now at this very moment, is that I respect the fact that he has so boldly declared his desire to serve God. All we in Christendom can do is pray for discernment and pray that God will align Kanye with good shepherds that will walk alongside him and guide and help keep him on the path of righteousness.

So I say, welcome home brother Kanye. I’m praying for you!

 

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s my birthday y’all…. and  this year I just wasn’t too excited about it; and if you know anything about me, its that I LOVE my birthday.  I had a few weeks of deep contemplation about what I wanted my next year of life to be like. Here ‘s what i’ve been pondering on the last little while.

Have you ever thought about the word inheritance and what it means?

Recently, the subject of inheritance has seemingly been all around me. This summer, Disney released the live action version of The Lion King. There is a scene in the movie where Mufasa (father) has a conversation with his son, Simba. He explains to him that everything the light touches belongs to them and that one day Simba will inherit all of it.  Watch the full scene ( from the original Disney motion picture film) down below:

What does it actually mean to inherit something?  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word inherit as, ” : to come into possession of or receive especially as a right or divine portion”.

Simba didn’t have to do anything to receive what Mufasa had to offer him. He was told that it belonged to him just becuase he belonged to Mufasa. It was his right as Mufasa’s son to inherit all that Mufasa had..

Hmm… think on that for a minute.

I was raised as an only child and I am my mothers only biological child. My sibling(s)  on my father’s side are much older than me and so I grew up always knowing whatever my mother had, and most of what my father had  would one day become mine. I didn’t have to do anything to earn it. My only job was to be born into the particular family that I was. It is my rightful place to one day take possesion of the things they have promised me.

I think I see a trend here….

Let’s look biblically for a second. The story  of Abraham is a great depiction of inheritance in direct corelation to us. God promised Abraham that if he followed His lead ( Genesis 12: 1-3) left all he knew behind he would bless him in ways that he couldn’t even imagine. God made a covenant with Abraham when he was old in age (75)  He, at the time was childless and God promised him that he would sow an heir and that his descendents would outnumber the stars in the sky.  (Genesis 15: 5) Abraham would  become the father to genrations of people who would go on to inherit the promised land.. and in latter days, inherit the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Abraham didn’t have to do anything except follow God’s direction to inherit all that God promised to him.

That’s so relatable to us today and our relationship with  Jesus. God sent His son  (Jesus) as a sacrifce, to die on a cross just for us! We didn’t have to do anything to be worthy of such a sacrifice. The benefits of this sacrifice are eternal life. if we just take the step to join the family of God, wholeheartedly, all He has promised us is ours for the taking.

All He asks of us in return is to love Him and to serve Him in spirt and in truth.

Belong: We belong to God
Be in a Family: Through Jesus we are a part of the family of God 
Follow: Follow Jesus to inherit the kingdom of God and in turn eternal life

I was visiting with some friends a few weekends ago, and we were having some pretty deep discussions. We began to discuss how we often doubt God and all He has promised us. My big bro turned to the group and said ( paraphrasing )  ” Why do we act as if the inheritance isn’t ours?”

Wow…

That was like a big slap in of reality in my face. A staement that was so simple , took on a very profound meaning for me. For too long I have “known” that all God promised me, belongs to me, but never have I really taken the time to examine what that really means and BELIEVED IT!

Why am I worrying about trivial things when God already has my inheritance waiting on me?  Why am I doubting that what is for will always be for me? Why am I becoming frustrated with the timing of the inheritance’s delivery?

Because I am a fleshly human, flaws and all!

But, this year I’ve decided to walk in my inheritance! It’s already mine so I need to act like it! Everything that God has promised me, I’m claiming it this year! This is the time that my faith gets stronger and deeper and I stand with arms and heart wide open ready to receive. It’s time to live in the overflow of my inheritance.

I must admit, I was not excited for my birthday this year. I am coming off of a few years where God has really been stretchng me and grooming me and pushing me and pulling me and…. you get the drift. It’s been a season of growing pains. But after this conversation, a fire has been light under me to once again start speaking blessings over my life! Year 34 I’m claiming victory! I want the blessings of Abraham to flow all over me!

( This one of my favourite songs! It’s so appropriate for this post and I’m about to make it my theme song for this entire birth year! Anytime I start to lose sight of my inheritance, I’m going to through this on and worship all doubt away 🙂 )

Pray for me y’all (cause the devil stays lurking!)

I hope everyone has a blessed day! I’m off to the airport!! Let the birthday celebrations begin!

God bless you all!
xo

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Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Hey y’all!

Have you ever had faith that something was going to work out your way, and then… it didn’t? I know I have on countless occasions. Especially right now, in the season of life, I currently am in.  I’m trying to navigate through, as best can with as much faith as I can that things are gonna “turn around” and “work out” and honestly… it’s been challenging to live my life with faith at the helm of my ship.

It’s very easy to get lost in doubt and have your faith dwindle when you can’t see an end to your situation in sight. I remember having a conversation with a friend and I was mentioning to them about how I was just feeling downright defeated; and yes many an encouraging word was shared ( which I really did appreciate) but I just wasn’t ready to receive them.

So what do I do when I feel defeated? I turn to God. But not always in the way I should. I often tend to turn to Him lamenting about my problems and not even acknowledging Him. I sometimes even go as far to question Him as to  “why He hates me?” (Ugh… even typing this makes me sound like a petulant, inconsolable toddler)

(Sidenote: At prayer/fasting service at my church on Saturday, the leader called me out to pray, and as the Holy Spirit does, He revealed to her the brunt of my lamenting. As she offered up a word through her Holy Spirit utterance, I was able to receive the message, “He loves you so… stay faithful… He loves you so”. Okay, God… I hear you loud and clear. Thank you Holy Spirit…)

Last week I decided to turn my prayers away from it’s non stop lamenting and began to honour God for His faithfulness. In my quiet time, I was drawn to the book of Hosea in the Bible.  I actually really love this book and over the course of the week, I dug in a little deeper into this text.

The book of Hosea is like a prophetic symbol of God’s relationship to Israel. Just like Hosea and his wife’s relationship was fractured due to her adulterous ways, such is Israel’s relationship with God.  (Hosea 1-3) But just as Hosea’s relationship was restored, God too promised to reconcile and restore His relationship with Israel.  Even when Israel didn’t deserve it, God remained faithful to His promise to them. ( Hosea 14)

This is the same way God is faithful to us. Even though we find it hard to have faith because we aren’t seeing the fruits of our faithfulness, God is STILL faithful.

I know I am totally undeserving of His faithfulness to me, but I am eternally grateful.  You see, God made us and he knows that our faith may waver. But that’s why He gave us a reminder of His faithfulness by sending His son as a redeemer! When mankind made the choice to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree, ( Genesis 3)  God had the power to have us permanently atone for our sins by actual physical sacrifice. Instead, He, Himself, made the ultimate sacrifice for us!

Even when we are faithLESS, God remains faithFUL!

There’s a song by Elevation Worship that has really helped me through the past few weeks. The lyrics are as follows:

When the whispers of worry
Overwhelmed my soul
You never left me alone
You were there all along
You are faithful
Why should my heart be afraid?
You are faithful
I know You’re not gonna change
You are faithful, faithful
I was down to the wire
Hoping You would come through
And You stepped in the fire
Like You always do
How I’m convinced of Your love
You are more than enough
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Whatever it is you are worrying about, leave it in the hands of Jesus! He will always stay the same! Faithful! All He asks in return is that we trust Him with our whole heart.. even when it doesn’t make sense!
Lamentations 3:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness…” 
I pray that our faithful God works out your situations in His perfect timing!
God Bless!
xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

​Stay On The Path….

​Stay On The Path….

Hey y’all!

I’m over here sick as a dog in my bed but….. as a proud Canadian (not a Raptors fan lol KNICKS all day…. even though we suck right now), I am SUPER AMPED for game 5 of the NBA finals featuring our very own Toronto Raptors!!!!

I live fairly close to Toronto, so going to sporting events like basketball games, baseball games etc… are a thing of the norm for me. In Toronto, they have what is called Jurassic Park that fans flock to by the thousands to cheer on and support their beloved Raptors.

Last week my friend and I had tickets to a Blue Jays vs. Yankees baseball game. Talk about being conflicted! Do I still go to the game? Or do I just stop at Jurassic Park and take part in the festivities. I chose to go to the Jays game and perhaps catch up with the revellers afterwards.

Well, by the time the baseball game was done , the Raptors game was just about over and if you know anything about trying to get on a train after a sporting event in Toronto… is that you make your way as quickly as possible to your platform to avoid standing for an extensive amount of time on your way home.

Transit to and from the GTA ( Greater Toronto Area) is constantly changing, especially at what is called Union station. Union Station is the hub of downtown transit. There is something called PATH which is a pedestrian walkway that has links to things such as multiple subway stations, shopping and restaurants.

Every
Single
Time…
I get into Union station and get on the PATH walkway to get out of the subway station… I GET LOST!

Why because it’s never the same! The path you took two weeks ago is now blocked off and is detouring you to go another way. If you’re not paying attention , the signage can lead you in circles!

Let me backtrack a second. My friend and I both have the same issue every time we go into Union Station and we had made up in our mind that we were just going to walk on the outside street to the station. But what did we do instead? We followed the crowd and found ourselves once again on the Path. We took our eyes off of our path and ended up on a course that altered the plan and ended up taking us longer to get to our desired place.

To me, the Path represents life. In life, you are going to be constantly met with unexpected changes. Some things in life you can prepare for, others you just have to figure it out as it comes to you. Like I mentioned before, Union Station has great signage which directs you to where you need to be. The Holy Spirit is like that signage. Always leading you in the correct direction. If you stop paying attention to the signs or take the lead away from the Holy Spirit, it is then that your life is met with confusion. It is then you begin to deviate from the original plan to get you to your destination.

I use this illustration to encourage you to stay on the path God has for you. Don’t follow the crowd. You don’t have to be doing something because everyone else is. God has prepared a path and journey that is uniquely yours.

It is impossible to successfully reach where you are trying to go without clear directions. You need directions and instruction to efficiently navigate through all the detours and roadblocks you may encounter along your way.

Your path may not always be a smooth one or even a clear one. But directions are intended to make the transition from place to place easier. It’s not always easy to follow directions when you think you know where you are going. It’s not easy to put your trust in someone ( or something) else. However, there is a very popular scripture that is very fitting at this moment. Proverbs 3:5-6 reads:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

God will never lead you astray. He has already navigated the best path for you to take, to get you exactly where you need to be… in His timing. Don’t be in such a rush to reach your final destination. Take a moment and enjoy the path you are on…

This song is a song I learned as a child growing up in a Pentecostal church. Oldie but a goodie! Very simple song but a very clear message. Enjoy!

Be Blessed today!

xoxo
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Style Sunday: Tees and Red Pumps…

Style Sunday: Tees and Red Pumps…

Hey y’all!

This is an outfit I wore a few months back to Good Friday services at my church. I loved this tee from the moment I laid eyes on it on the Hillsong website. Its message stood out to me as it is truly what I think the world needs right now! Check out how I styled it down below!

 

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Tee: Hillsong Store ( It’s no longer available on the Hillsong.ca website but it may be on the international site still.)  Purchased it on sale for $20 ( CAD)

Black pencil skirt: Long time purchase from Forever 21 for approx. $11 ( CAD) in the link there is a similar one in the current collection which retals for $12.90 (CAD)

 Red mules:  Purchased at Callitspring . Curretly retailing for  $54.98 but i got them on sale when I was in Cali for approx. $40 (CAD)

Red Quilted Blazer: This blazer is about 13 years old! i purchased at a store that is no longer in business. Price unknown.

Have a blessed Sunday and remember…

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xoxo

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I Am Who He Says I Am…

I Am Who He Says I Am…

” I am chosen Not forsaken I am who You say I am… You are for me Not against me I am who You say I am…”

Loser…

Ugly…

Disruptive…

Stupid…

These are some words that have been used to describe me at one point or another in life.  I’m sure many people out there can relate to having words spoken about them that were extremely hurtful and that have probably left invisible scars on their self-esteem.

This weekend I attended a ladies retreat put on by my church organization (COGOP). The theme for the weekend was, “Yet, I will rejoice “. While the overall theme was rejoicing in your circumstances, quite a few of the session speakers and evening ministers really touched on the topic of mental wellness and knowing who you are through Christ.

I was having a conversation with my sister-friend this weekend, who shared with me an incident where an older church sister had made mention of her nose piercing. This particular sister told her in no uncertain terms that she needed to remove her nose ring and that it was “demonic”. My sister-friend shared with me how the sister made her feel so bad about herself and her choice to wear the nose ring, by basically discrediting her ability to have a relationship with Christ and minister ( she’s an amazing musician) because of it.

My sister-friend has spoken with me openly ( and I with her) about the struggle we have at times to maintain mental and spiritual wellness. Well as you can imagine, this older sister’s words didn’t help with her spiritual self-esteem: feeling worthy of acting in ministry because maybe the nose ring really did make her “less than”.

Unworthy

Distracting

Disobedient

In another event, I can recall being in the bathroom ( restroom for my American readers lol) and overhearing two sisters having a conversation that was so discrediting to my character that I won’t repeat it here. If I was a different person I would’ve let their words send me down a downward spiral. Thankfully, It had the opposite effect and I can still hold my head high knowing I’m still ( by God’s grace) proving them wrong.

Failure

Disappointment

Worthless 

We humans often forget that words are powerful! They have the power to uplift and they have the ability to tear down, as do the people who say them.

This is why I am so happy that God has left us some words of affirmation in His word (The Bible) that can remind of who He has made us!

1 Peter 2:9-  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

John 15:15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father told me.

Romans 8:17 -And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-  We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people.

The theme song for the weekend was Hillsong’s “Who You Say I Am”

The lyrics are powerful and the ones that really stuck out to me are:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

Christ has given us a title that nobody can take away. A title that nobody’s words can cancel:

Chosen

Special

His Child

Heir

Friend

Loved

I want to remind somebody that they are a product of God’s promise! The preacher Angela Grant had a tagline that she used in her message on Saturday night at the retreat. She reminded us ladies that we are ” CHOSEN NOT TOLERATED”

You are who God says you are. He made a choice and His choice was to LOVE US and make us HIS OWN.

You are loved!

You matter!

Take two minutes out of your busy schedule today and remind them of special they are! Take a look in the mirror and encourage yourself!

If you don’t hear it today: I love you and GOD LOVES YOU TOO!

Be Blessed!

xoxo

©justlovethemanyway